Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Review: Simple Minds, Odyssey Arena, Belfast

80s icons are still Alive And Kicking

Ten years ago Simple Minds were running out of gas and in danger of careering off the road.

The bleak writing was on the wall for them, but their 15th studio album Graffiti Soul was a product of the fresh momentum that saw them leap onto the Odyssey Arena stage last night with a spring in their revitalised step.

OMD kicked off proceedings in style with lead singer Andy McCloskey dancing like a deranged uncle at a wedding. They finished on a high with Enola Gay and the crowd were left wanting more.

Simple Minds sprinted out of the blocks with an energetic start and Sanctify Yourself set the tone for a night of classics.

All The Things She Said, also from the Once Upon a Time album, was an unexpected treat and as lead singer Jim Kerr remarked: “We played Dublin last night but we still have plenty in the tank for Belfast.”

Waterfront had the crowd on their feet again, the older tracks like Life In A Day were recognisable only to those who have been with the band on their journey since 1977.

A lot has changed in the music industry since frontman Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill clung to their teenage dream in 1977 but they are still living it after several highs and lows and who can blame them.

A decade ago, in Kerr's own words, the band were “staggering around like punch-drunk boxers”. But as a live act, Simple Minds remained among the big hitters. Last night their loyal following had plenty to get excited about as the band seems to have rekindled its affinity with the city that gave them their only UK number one hit, Belfast Child.

Backing vocalist Sarah Brown - no, not the Prime Minister's wife - represented a sparkling new addition to the line-up, bringing songs to life.

Kerr and Burchill, who have recently celebrated their 50th birthdays, have found their mojo again and every gig on the UK tour is recorded and made available as a boxed memory stick.

Judging on last night's performance, there are more memories to be made.

GRAHAM LUNEY

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